Squiz Today / 10 August 2017

Squiz Today – Thursday, 10 August


“Runners rage”

A London woman is lucky to be alive after narrowly missing a bus when she was pushed by a jogger onto a busy road. The footage is terrifying. Apparently, runner’s rage is a thing – it’s caused by low blood sugar. Other runners dismissed that as the cause in this case, instead suggesting the guy is a dangerous jerk. But as we already know, exercise is a dangerous business. 


Following unanimous international agreement on new UN sanctions against North Korea last weekend, and after yesterday’s news that a leaked US intelligence report says the rogue nation has made big steps towards becoming a nuclear power, things got shouty yesterday. Specifically, North Korea made threats about a plan to fire missiles at Guam (which is US territory) and said if there were any signs of U.S. provocation, it would carry out a pre-emptive strike. US President Donald Trump returned (verbal) fire. 

Ah, no. You know how Midnight Oil had ‘Power and the Passion’? US President Donald Trump has his own version called “Fire and Fury”. The theme of his message directed towards North Korean leader Kim Jong Un highlighted the nuclear capabilities of the US but said he hoped they never had to use them. There are two reads on Trump's approach:

1. Pro - Victor Cha, a former adviser to President George W. Bush on North Korea, said he didn’t think Trump means the US will attack, rather it’s a warning that; “…if North Korea actually did anything behind all their bluster, they would be met with immediate and overwhelming response. That is actually good for deterrence.”

2. Anti – Some pundits don’t see it as at all helpful. Republican Senator John McCain (not a big Trump fan even on a good day) said; “The great leaders I’ve seen don’t threaten unless they’re ready to act, and I’m not sure President Trump is ready to act.” Kapow!

Put it on a watching brief. This steep escalation in tensions comes just a week after US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s soothing tones attempted to steer things towards a diplomatic resolution – and he moved to be a voice of calm again overnight. One official said the strategy was to increase the economic and diplomatic pressure so North Korea would cool their jets on the missile testing and come to the table for talks, but that doesn’t look very likely at the moment. And with the US and South Korea looking to stage military exercises at the end of this month, get ready for things to shift from hot to sizzle.


We’ll hopefully hear this morning if a Colombian court will approve a plea deal for the accused drug mule. Remember: Sainsbury is accused of trying to smuggle 5.9kg of cocaine from the country - enough to put her away for 30 years if found guilty. Sainsbury’s legal team said it’s possible a deal of six years (or an even lighter sentence) could be approved if her version of events - that she was coerced to carry the drugs under threat of harm to her family - is accepted. Watch this space.

There have been a few developments on the big news stories we’ve Squiz’d this week:

CHECK YOUR ELECTRICITY CONTRACT – PM Malcolm Turnbull met with seven of Oz’s largest power companies yesterday and, long story short – you need to check if you’re on a high-cost contract. More than 50% of us are on lapsed discounted contracts and there are probably better deals out there. The companies undertook to make information about electricity contracts comparable and easier to understand. So there’s an action item for you.

SAME-SEX MARRIAGE PLEBICITE REJECTED IN THE SENATE – As predicted. So now for Plan B – a non-compulsory postal vote. Given this is a snail mail exercise, the government wants you to check your electoral role details ASAP to ensure they have the right address. We heard a bit yesterday what the ‘no’ case will look like with former PM Tony Abbott running some lines (note he has had practice – Abbott was prominent in the successful ‘no’ campaign against a Republic when Turnbull lead the ‘yes’ campaign in 1999). Oh, and the postal vote concept is already heading to the High Court to test its legality. 

CBA’S PROFIT STRONG - The Commonwealth Bank announced a very healthy profit of $9.88 billion for last financial year and prosecuted the argument that a single error created the 57,000+ missed reports to the money laundering regulator – so just one fine of a maximum $18 million is required. Good luck with that… 

Home finance data for June showed the best outing for first home buyers for almost three years. The reason? NSW and Victoria introduced stamp duty exemptions on lower-priced properties at the start of the financial year and experts believe buyers were getting loans approved in June to buy in July. Treasurer Scott Morrison said regulations to cool investor activity in the housing market were helping first-time buyers elbow their way in. But the numbers show investor finance also increased and some say the full chill is yet to take place.

You’ve gotta love a company that has made a living off the principle that “fruit and cream are soulmates”. Oh yes sireee they are! Weis Frozen Foods – a Toowoomba-based family business since 1957 – yesterday announced they have sold up to the yuuuge British-Netherlands headquartered multinational Unilever for an undisclosed sum. The Weis family said the new owners had the reach to push their products into new markets, particularly China. Unilever already owns many Aussie brands including Streets icecreams (think Golden Gaytime, Splice, Bubble 'O Bill, Paddle Pop) and other household names like Flora margarine, and Bushells and Liptons teas. We say congrats to the Weis family for their success over 60 years.

Confession time – we’re Glen Campbell fans. Wichita Lineman is genius – it’s restrained and simple, deep and thoughtful. Which totally describes us BTW. So we were sad to hear that Campbell died on Tuesday in Nashville at 81yo after battling Alzheimer’s for the past few years. Campbell was a self-taught guitar prodigy and singer - his specialty was a genre he called ‘crock’ – a mix of country and rock. Campbell started his career as a backup artist in Los Angeles and played on recordings for Frank Sinatra, the Righteous Brothers and the Beach Boys. But he dreamed of a solo career and finally made it big in the late 1960s – so big he crossed over into acting with a supporting role in western movie classic True Grit. But acting wasn’t for him; “I made John Wayne look so good, he won his only Oscar,” he once said. Campbell had his problems with alcohol and cocaine over the years, and was married four times. But he was revered by music’s greats. Bruce Springsteen said; "He had a beautiful singing voice. Pure tone. And it was never fancy. Wasn't singing all over the place. It was simple on the surface but there was a world of emotion underneath." He will be mourned by music lovers across the world.


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